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If surprises are what you value the most in your journeys, Iran will be the most pleasant travel destination you could ever hope for.

Imagine a country that’s fairly isolated from the rest of the world, characterised by a pleasant dry climate, full of spectacular archaeological monuments, mountains and deserts, and sits by the Caspian and Arabian seas. Not long ago, Iran was a complete mystery. During the past several years, however, it has opened its doors to visitors, even if just a little bit. Iran enthrals with its cultural fortitude, yet is a pleasant place for visitors.

Shopping in Iran

Visit any of Iran’s commercial establishments in any city and you’ll see that it’s a centre of commerce and luxury items. Here you can find anything you want, and of good quality, too: from dried fruit and spices, to special clothing, shawls, jewels and hand-woven carpets.

Salted and unsalted nuts, melon and pomegranate seeds, cut-up dates and figs are snacks that every Iranian has. High-quality saffron is another valuable gift that’s easy to find here.

In Iran, every shopping centre has several jewellery stores where you can find sophisticated and masterfully-crafted jewellery with, say, 18-carat gold. Bracelets, pendants and rings are the most popular purchases. If you’re not too keen on gold, choose silver jewellery, inlaid with rubies, emerald, agate, and turquoise. Fnding earrings is quite a bit harder, though, due to the cultural context.

Cultural Heritage of Three Spectacular Cities

Iran is especially appreciated for its rich culture, architecture and remaining spectacular monuments. Mosques and mausoleums are valued for their splendour and imperviousness to time, while ruins and ancient cities remind us of the country’s cultural value and historical heritage. Iran is certainly held to be the cradle of culture, with Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran being the best examples.

Shiraz, the former capital of Persia, is a city of poets and palmers. For 2,000 years it’s been considered to be at the heart of Persian culture, and its name is almost synonymous with the words “liberation”, “nightingale”, “poetry”, and “wine”.

Due to its beauty, Isfahan, located on both sides of the River Zayandehrud, used to be called “Half of the World”. The city is famous for its Persian art centre – arguably the most beautiful of its kind in the world – with stylish minarets and splendid mosques on slopes of the Zagros Mountains. As the city settled down on the all-important Silk Road, it became a true place of luxury.

Tehran was established in the 9th century CE and became Iran’s capital in the 18th. This city is also called the country’s “beating heart”. Every traveller should visit the National Jewellery Treasury, which has one of the world’s largest collections of jewels, amassed over the past 2,500 years.

Iran’s Nature

The 18th-largest country in the world has much to offer to nature lovers, too. During winter, mountains near Tehran open their skiing tracks, while the eastern part of the country has a large desert and salt flats. Most of Iran’s farms are located in valleys in the western part of the country, where there’s more rain. Large deposits of oil are located in Iran’s southwest, near the Persian Gulf. The country has a 650-km-long coastline by the Caspian Sea, and another 1,770 kilometres’ worth near the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

It’s no surprise that the country also has a wide variety of fauna. Iran even has some Asiatic cheetahs, although their populations are dwindling and already near-extinct. Here you can also see bears, gazelles, boars, deer, wolves, jackals, lynxes, foxes, mountain mouflon, many species of birds, and if you’re especially lucky – even leopards.

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